New York police brand hatchet attack ‘terrorist’ act

A man holding a hatchet is seen in a still image from surveillance video provided by the New York Police Department October 23, 2014

A man holding a hatchet is seen in a still image from surveillance video provided by the New York Police Department October 23, 2014

New York (AFP) - A hatchet attack on New York police officers was a “terrorist act” carried out by a self-radicalized Muslim convert who had been in the military and browsed Al-Qaeda websites, police said Friday.

“This was a terrorist act,” police commissioner Bill Bratton told a news conference on Friday, one day after the attack, saying he was “very comfortable” describing it as a “terrorist attack.”

Police said Zale Thompson, who was 32, unmarried and unemployed, appeared to have acted alone and was not affiliated to a particular group, but that the investigation was ongoing.

A loner who spent hours locked away in his bedroom, he had looked at websites about groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State, and watched beheadings and Wednesday’s deadly attack in Canada.

Officer Kenneth Healy, 25, is in hospital in a critical but stable condition after being injured in the back of the head during Thursday’s broad daylight attack in a busy shopping area.

Another officer was hit in the arm in the assault in New York’s borough of Queens. The group of four young police officers had graduated from the police academy only months before.

In an attack that lasted just seven seconds, Bratton said Thompson charged with a hatchet in his hand, striking two officers before he was shot dead by the two other officers, who were uninjured.

A graphic video of the attack has been released, showing a bearded Thompson dressed in a green jacket, running towards his victims and swinging the hatchet in both hands.

A 29-year-old female bystander was accidentally shot and is also in hospital in a critical but stable condition, Bratton said.

Police said Thompson converted to Islam two years ago and that relatives described him as a “recluse” and “lately depressed.”

An axe and a large hunting knife were recovered from his home and Thompson made anti-Western, anti-government and in some cases anti-white statements on social media, police said.

He visited websites that focused on terror groups such as Al-Qaeda, the IS organization and the Shebab Islamists in Somalia.

Police said Thompson’s Internet browsing history included the fence-jumping incident at the White House this week and Wednesday’s shooting in Canada.

- Online history -

“It appears… this is something he has been thinking about for some time and thinking about with more intensity in recent days,” chief of detectives Robert Boyce said.

Police believe that Thompson acted alone and was self-directed.

“The investigation is hoping to determine as quickly as possible if there were any other actions that he was engaged in with others that might indicate a continuing a threat,” Bratton said.

Police said they were investigating whether Thompson was affiliated with any mosque or association, but said most of his activity and exposure appears to have been through the Internet.

“The father described that he spent extensive amounts of time by himself in his bedroom and by all accounts was a true proverbial loner,” said Bratton.

Thompson had no police record in New York but had come into contact with the force as a victim of assault when he was 16, and was arrested six times in California in 2003-04.

He spent three years in the military but was involuntarily discharged in 2003, most likely due to drugs, police said.

SITE, a private terrorism monitoring group, said that Thompson displayed “extremist leanings” in an array of statements on YouTube and Facebook.

Bratton said the issue of a lone wolf, self-radicalized assailant was one of “increasing concern” to counter-terrorism officers.

SITE said Thompson described “jihad as a justifiable response to the oppression of the ‘Zionists and the Crusaders'” in a comment posted to a pro-Islamic State video on September 13.

Queens residents said that they were disturbed by the attack.

“A thing like that isn’t supposed to happen, children can be on the streets,” said a woman who gave her name as Helena.

“Anyone could get caught in this incident and I don’t think that’s right, it’s not right,” she told AFP.

*****

Published on Oct 24, 2014 by Washington Free Beacon

NYC Hatchet Attacker’s Facebook Page Featured Islamic Warrior (October 24, 2014)

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The Homegrown Jihadist Threat Grows

A screen grab taken Sept. 20 from an ISIS-affiliated Twitter account purporting to show senior commander Abu Wahib in southern Iraq sharing a flower with a child. ASSOCIATED PRESS

A screen grab taken Sept. 20 from an ISIS-affiliated Twitter account purporting to show senior commander Abu Wahib in southern Iraq sharing a flower with a child. ASSOCIATED PRESS

By JOSEPH LIEBERMAN And CHRISTIAN BECKNER:

Three teenage girls from Colorado were on their way to join Islamic State, also known as ISIS, last week when they were caught by police in Frankfurt. Reports now suggest that the young women may have been victims of an “online predator” who lured them to travel to Turkey to link up with the jihadist forces in Syria and Iraq. ISIS has certainly proved skillful at using the Internet to spread its message of hatred and violence around the world, particularly through social-media sites like Twitter and the group’s online English-language magazine, Dabiq.

More Americans may be motivated to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS or other terrorist groups. The online radicalization efforts could also encourage “lone wolves” to undertake acts of terrorism within the U.S., similar to the two deadly terrorist attacks in Canada this week, both apparently motivated by ISIS’s online communications.

Islamic State “operates the most sophisticated propaganda machine” of any terrorist group today, as former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen noted in a speech at the Brookings Institution in September. Mr. Olsen warned of the possibility of an ISIS sympathizer “perhaps motivated by online propaganda,” who could “conduct a limited, self-directed attack here at home, with no warning.”

Al Qaeda’s online efforts have evoked similar fears over the past decade, and played a role in inspiring a number of terrorist attacks, including the Islamist terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, where 13 people were killed; the unsuccessful car bombing in Times Square in 2010; and the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, which killed four people.

Despite all this, the U.S. government still has no strategy to counter ISIS’s and al Qaeda’s violent online propaganda when it is directed at Americans. Several government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, have outreach programs to discuss this threat in meetings with community leaders in major cities. The FBI sometimes intervenes to dissuade individuals from engaging in extremist activity online by warning about the risks of illegal activity such as material support to a foreign terrorist organization. But such efforts have been sporadic and are carried out ad hoc, without a comprehensive strategy for countering the online radicalization of U.S. citizens.

Read more at WSJ

‘Lone Wolf,’ or ‘Known Wolf’? The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

F5FA38EDDCFE45EABC4F263FECE614E5By Patrick Poole:

Katie Gorka of the Council on Global Security has released an important report [1], “The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” and events of this week show that it couldn’t be more timely. The separate terror attacks in Canada and a long string of terror attacks here in the U.S. show that the counter-terrorism policies of Western governments are fundamentally broken, and are directly responsible for getting their citizens killed. Even as I write this there are breaking reports of yet another attack [2].

The primary targets of Gorka’s new report are the various fictitious narratives and bogus social science models that drive Western counter-terrorism efforts. Chief among these is the “countering violent extremism (CVE)” narrative that has been the centerpiece for U.S. intelligence and law enforcement.

CVE has been a colossal disaster because it has no roots in reality. It was always intended as a convenient fiction for politicians, bureaucrats, media and academics to avoid talking about [3] the problem of the ideology that supports Islamic terrorism.

There has never once been a recorded case of anyone on the planet swearing their allegiance to the ideology of “violent extremism” and their willingness to kill others and die in the cause of “violent extremism.” It is a null set. There is nothing to counter, which is the whole point. And yet there are academics and institutions who are the beneficiaries of mountains of taxpayer cash to pursue the elusive CVE unicorn.

CVE has been used to smuggle all kinds of crackpot theories into not just our counter-terrorism policy, but also our foreign policy.

One crackpot theory has been that there are good Islamists that we can use against the bad Islamists. This was the keystone of the Obama administration’s Arab Spring policies. And this theory put into practice in Egypt, Libya, Syria and other places has left the Middle East in even worse shape than Obama found it.

As Gorka observes, the administration’s head cheerleader [4] for this “good Islamist/bad Islamist” approach has been Quintan Wiktorowicz, who served as senior director of the National Security Council under Obama. But the disaster of the Arab Spring has prompted Wiktorowicz and his CVE pals to double-down on this approach. Now we have entirely new categories of actors, such as “vetted moderates,” and even “good bad Islamists,” who presumably are any jihadists not currently wearing a suicide belt.

This rampant idiocy has become so bad that we have the supposed best and brightest in the Washington, D.C. foreign policy elite now calling for engagement with “moderate al-Qaeda” (no, I’m not kidding [5]).

Another theory championed by the CVE crowd is the “lone wolf” syndrome, reportedly where unknown individuals unconnected to any other actor strike without warning. But numerous examples show that terrorist actors are almost always part of a network who were involved in recruiting and tasking terrorist activity. As Max Abrahms at Northeastern University has observed [6]:

Since the advent of international terrorism in 1970, none of the 40 most lethal terrorist attacks has been committed by a person unaffiliated with some terrorist group, according to publicly available data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, which is funded by the Department of Homeland Security and stored at the University of Maryland. In fact, lone wolves have carried out just two of the 1,900 most deadly terrorist incidents over the last four decades.

So why “lone wolf”? Simply, it was a mechanism promulgated by the CVE industry, with willing cooperation from law enforcement and intelligence officials, to exonerate themselves when a terrorist attack happened. At its core is terror agnosticism: “There is possibly no way to predict who will turn to terrorism, so therefore we can’t be held responsible when it happens. Oh, and give us more money so we can better improve how we won’t be able to predict terror attacks.”

The two terror attacks in Canada this week, which are already being described by CVE industry practitioners as “lone wolf” attacks, were by individuals already known to Canadian counter-terrorism officials. Reportedly both Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau [7] and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau [8] had their passports taken away by Canadian authorities because they were considered “high risk” to travel overseas to join the Islamic State. We also have reports that Zehaf-Bibeau had contacts with known jihadist sympathizers [9] and at least one individual who had fought in Syria.

Looking at the long string of domestic terror incidents here in the U.S. shows that the so-called “lone wolves,” in virtually every case, were in fact “known wolves.”

In fairness, this “known wolf” phenomenon goes back more than 20 years.

The cell responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was well known to law enforcement. An FBI informant, Emad Salem, was operating inside their cell and had been repeatedly warning the FBI about the group’s intentions. As far back as 1989, the FBI had been watching [10] these cell members conduct weapons training.

When one of the cell members, El Sayyid Nosair, killed Rabbi Meir Kahane in a New York City hotel in November 1990, law enforcement recovered hordes of information about the cell’s activities and intentions — but, as has been pointed out, it was never translated. My friend and colleague Andy McCarthy, who prosecuted some of the cell members after the 1993 WTC bombing, wrote a whole book about the affair, Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad [11].

Read more at PJ Media

The Poison Tree

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

By Matthew Continetti:

Last month, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu made a connection between the Islamic State and Hamas. These terrorist entities, Netanyahu said, have a lot in common. Separated by geography, they nonetheless share ideology and tactics and goals: Islamism, terrorism, the destruction of Israel, and the establishment of a global caliphate.

And yet, Netanyahu observed, the very nations now campaigning against the Islamic State treated Hamas like a legitimate combatant during last summer’s Israel-Gaza war. “They evidently don’t understand,” he said, “that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.”

The State Department dismissed Netanyahu’s metaphor. “Obviously, we’ve designated both as terrorist organizations,” said spokesman Jen Psaki. “But ISIL poses a different threat to Western interests and to the United States.”

Psaki was wrong, of course. She’s always wrong. And, after the events of the last 48 hours, there ought not to be any doubt as to just how wrong she was. As news broke that a convert to Islam had murdered a soldier and stormed the Canadian parliament, one read of another attack in Jerusalem, where a Palestinian terrorist ran his car over passengers disembarking from light rail, injuring seven, and killing 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, who held a U.S. passport.

Islamic State, al Qaeda, Hamas—these awful people are literally baby killers. And yet they produce a remarkable amount of dissension, confusion, willful ignorance, and moral equivalence on the part of the men and women who conduct U.S. foreign policy. “ISIL is not ‘Islamic,’” President Obama said of the terrorist army imposing sharia law across Syria and Iraq. “Obviously, we’re shaken by it,” President Obama said of the attack in Canada. “We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident,” the State Department said of the murder of a Jewish child.

“Not Islamic,” despite the fact that the Caliphate grounds its barbarous activities in Islamic law. “Shaken,” not stirred to action. “All sides,” not the side that targets civilians again and again and again. The evasions continue. They create space for the poison tree to grow.

The persistent denial of the ideological unity of Islamic terrorism—the studied avoidance of politically incorrect facts that has characterized our response to the Ft. Hood shooting, the Benghazi attack, the Boston Marathon bombing, the march of the caliphate across Syria and Iraq, and the crimes of Hamas—is not random. Behind it is a set of ideas with a long history, and with great purchase among the holders of graduate degrees who staff the Department of Justice, the National Security Council, Foggy Bottom, and the diplomatic corps. These ideas are why, in the words of John McCain, the terrorists “are winning, and we’re not.”

A report by Katherine Gorka of the Council on Global Security, “The Bad Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” analyzes the soil from which the poison tree draws strength. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, Gorka writes, U.S. policymakers have faced a dilemma: “how to talk about Islam in a way that is instructive in dealing with Muslims who are enemies but not destructive to those who are friends.” For decades, the preferred solution has been to declare America’s friendship with Islam, and to distinguish between jihadists and everyday Muslims.

One of Gorka’s earliest examples of this policy comes from former Assistant Secretary of State Edward Djerejian, who said in 1992, “The U.S. government does not view Islam as the next ‘ism’ confronting the West or threatening world peace.” Similar assurances were uttered by officials in the Clinton administration, by Clinton himself, and by President George W. Bush. The policy was meant to delegitimize terrorism by denying the terrorists’ claim that they are acting according to religious precepts. “Policymakers believed that by tempering their language with regard to Islam, they might forestall further radicalization of moderate Muslims and indeed even potentially win moderates into the American circle of friendship.”

George W. Bush, Gorka notes, combined his rhetorical appeals to moderate Muslims with denunciations of the immorality of terrorism and illiberalism. And yet, for the government at large, downplaying the religious and ideological component to terrorist activities became an end in itself.

The Global War on Terror was renamed the “global struggle against violent extremism.” In 2008 the Department of Homeland Security published a lexicon of terrorism that said, “Our terminology must be properly calibrated to diminish the recruitment efforts of extremists who argue that the West is at war with Islam.” State Department guidelines issued in 2008 said, “Never use the terms jihadist or mujahedeen to describe a terrorist.”

Then came Obama. As a candidate, he stressed his experiences in Indonesia and Pakistan. He told Nick Kristof of the New York Times that the call of the muezzin is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” In one of his first major addresses as president, he traveled to Cairo to inaugurate a new beginning with the Muslim world. His counterterrorism adviser, now director of the CIA, called jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” and referred to Jerusalem as “Al Quds.”

The change in the manner in which the government treated Islamism was profound. “Whereas the 9/11 Commission report, published under the presidency of George W. Bush in July 2004 as a bipartisan product, had used the word Islam 322 times, Muslim 145 times, jihad 126 times, and jihadist 32 times,” Gorka writes, “the National Intelligence Strategy of the United States, issued by the Obama administration in August 2009, used the term Islam 0 times, Muslim 0 times, jihad 0 times.” The omission is stunning.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

Emerson on Fox News America’s Newsroom – Open Societies and Stopping Terrorism

 

Bill Hemmer: Police in Canada now say the gunman in the attack acted alone. Serious questions that remain about whether or not this was yet another instance of a so-called lone wolf attack. Steve Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, with me now. Steve, how are you? And good morning to you. You have some sources up on Ottawa. What are you picking up now that we have not yet learned?

Steve Emerson: Canada is no different than the United States. For the last few years, last decade or so, they have experienced at least a dozen major aborted plots to attack major targets [in Canada] including government facilities as well as [other] facilities in [Canada and] the United States. All of them have been stopped with the assistance of either Canadian intelligence or US intelligence. The sound bite you played by Walid Phares was right on, was spot on. The issue is if the government can get inside our minds then they could stop acts of terrorism. But the issue is the point of activization. You can be radical but not cross the line; you are believing in a radical theology. Once you cross that line into carrying out a criminal predicate, then it’s illegal, then the government has the right to stop you. So taking away your passport isn’t going to stop you from carrying out an act of violence.

Hemmer: Yeah you’re precisely right about that. Just so our viewers know, this man’s passport was confiscated. So too are the passports of 90 other suspected Islamic radicals that the Canadians are watching right now. You mentioned Walid Phares. To our viewers who did not hear that, here’s what he said on the record last night.

Clip of Walid Phares: The pool of individuals who are like Rouleau and Bibeau, both in the United States and in Canada, is pretty big. How are we going to be able to determine which one is going to act is the real problem of counterintelligence services.

Hemmer: How we are able to determine which one will act is the real problem of counterintelligence. How do you address that Steve?

Emerson: That is the quintessential problem because when the government becomes too intrusive, when it starts listening to conversations, taking down your phone numbers, looking at the books that you read at the library, the public gets outraged, that’s invading your privacy. Yet those are all indicators, potential indicators of whether you are potentially going to carry out an act of terrorism or whether you’re interested in carrying out an act of terrorism. And yet the problem is that if you are not interested and yet the government does intrude on your privacy, everyone yells, well this is an invasion of your civil liberties. In a free society there’s always going to be this tension here. After 9/11 there was no controversy at all about passing the Patriot Act. I think it passed 99-1. Today if you had a vote in the Congress about the Patriot Act, I’m not so sure it would pass. Maybe it would pass today, but maybe it wouldn’t have passed last week.

Hemmer: It just has a way of rubbing off and the intensity we give the topic rubs off after time. We were speaking last hour with a great guest who was telling us that you need to raise the terror alert just to make sure the thing still work. They did this in Canada, I don’t know if that is something you would support here. Is that even necessary in our country?

Emerson: Well you remember we went through the color alerts. The issue of the alerts is a psychological thing; the purpose is to raise the public awareness. But the reality is, Bill, that the public awareness is raised really only through one thing – through fear. And that fear is engendered ironically through the success of attacks like the ones that were carried out in Canada over the last three days. When the FBI is successful in stopping attacks, the public doesn’t realize the magnitude of damage and death that could occur. So they’re almost victims of their own success. That’s the real irony in stopping attacks.

Hemmer: Steve, it is good to get your analysis here. Thanks for coming back with us today. Steve Emerson out of Washington, DC.

****

See videos with transcripts of all of Steve Emerson’s appearances here.

Cruz: Time to Drop the ‘Illusion’ That Latest Terror Attacks Are ‘Random Acts’

Ted Cruz / AP

Ted Cruz / AP

By Adam Kredo:

Recent terror attacks in Jerusalem and Canada are not isolated events, and American policy leaders must drop “the illusion that these are random acts of senseless violence unrelated to our national security,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said.

Whether the Islamic State or Hamas is behind the attacks, the extremist ideologyremains the same–and it poses a direct threat to democratic values across the globe, Cruz said in pointed comments to those who might claim the attacks were unrelated.

Following the Hamas terror attack Wednesday in Jerusalem–which injured several American citizens, including a child–both Hamas and the more moderate Fatah ruling party praised the terrorist responsible for the attack.

The same day, IS supporters worldwide took to Twitter to celebrate the fatal shooting of a Canadian soldier by a radicalized man that attacked the country’s Parliament building.

“We have to get away from the illusion that these are random acts of senseless violence unrelated to our national security,” Cruz said.

Cruz said the attacks are both strains of the same extremist virus.

“Deliberations over our foreign policy have gained a new clarity in recent days,” Cruz said. “Yesterday, an innocent, beautiful baby in Jerusalem was murdered by Hamas.”

“Terrorist organizations Hamas and Fatah both celebrated the destruction of this precious life just months after they relished in the slayings of Jewish teens,” Cruz said. “They did not care that the baby was American or one of the teens was a dual Israeli-American citizen. Their campaign of death is indiscriminate.”

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

“Who have Eyes and See Not”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau storming Parliament

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau storming Parliament

CSP, by Kyle Shideler:

October 22nd’s terror attack by Michael (aka Abdullah) Zehaf-Bibeau brings into focus an important question for Western counterterrorism efforts, as reports are now indicating that Zehaf-Bibeau, reportedly a Muslim convert, or having recently become religious, had been under Canadian law enforcement scrutiny prior to the attack, over fears that he may head abroad to join the Islamic State. This exact same set of circumstances also existed for Martin Couture Rouleau, who killed one Canadian soldier, and wounded another, in a hit and run terror attack on October 21st.

Nor are the Canadians the only ones who have had all the proper intelligence on suspects, and literally surveilled them all the up until the moment they began their deadly assault. A look at the past several years brings to mind multiple examples. The FBI was made aware of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev , and even interviewed him, well before he engaged in his jihad. British MI-5 had likewise been made aware of Michael Adebolajo, when he was arrested by Kenyan authorities allegedly for trying to join the jihad in Somalia. Adebolajo (together with a partner) would go on to engage in the beheading of British Army drummer Lee Rigby, in an attack very nearly copied by Rouleau.

Mohamed Merah, the French Muslim terrorist who attacked a Jewish school killing a Rabbi and three children as well as three French paratroopers in ambush attacks, was known to French intelligence and under surveillance for years. The Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hassan gave a briefing to his fellow Walter Reed psychiatrists about why sharia law obligated Muslims to engage in jihad against non-Muslims. Hassan’s email exchanges with Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki were read by the FBI in 2008 before the attack.  The Underwear bomber, and the Glasgow Airport bomber were also known to law enforcement and intelligence, and yet in both cases only quick acting members of the public prevented tragedy.

The point of mentioning these cases (and there are others) is not to blame law enforcement or intelligence agencies for failure, but rather to highlight a key problem. Despite the ability to detect, surveil and identify jihadists, which has been largely successful, the ability to actually prevent their attacks remains woefully inadequate. And even less is being done about the networks which indoctrinated these men, most of whom were recent converts, or men from largely secular families who had recently been re-introduced to their faith with a renewed zeal. Instead the relevant agencies watched, and listened… and then when the attacks occur, they were left to clean up the mess.

For starters, discussions of ideology, indoctrination, and recruitment have been forbidden, or at a minimum are utterly inadequate. While the RCMP wisely decided to reject an “anti-terror” handbook, which was put together in cooperation with Islamic groups in Canada, and which would have called for an end to the use of terms like “jihad” or “Islamist”, it shows that the same pressures exist in Canada as have been present in the United States. Ironically the U.S. State Department praised the same book rejected by Canadian law enforcement.

More efforts also need to be placed on disrupting the indoctrination and recruiting process, which requires understanding realistically where that indoctrination occurs. As noted by former Iraqi MP Ayad Jamal Al-Din (Transcript courtesy of Andy McCarthy):

As I have said, ISIS is a phenomenon with extensions all over the world, not just in Muslim countries. Even here in the U.S., there are many ISIS mosques.  There are thousands of mosques that are preparing people to join ISIS. Imagine: young people from Florida join the ranks of ISIS to fight, and so do young people from Britain, Australia, Russia, China, and elsewhere. How could a young university student leave Florida to fight for ISIS if not for a mosque that incited him to do so? I am not talking about a handful of mosques or about just a few people. No, we are talking about thousands of such mosques, or even more, in all countries of the world, from South America to North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. These mosques are calling, day in and day out, for the revival of the caliphate. There are school curricula that glorify the caliphate…

MP Al-Din said in that short segment on an Arabic television channel what most law enforcement officials and intelligence officers would be terrified to say, and are prohibitedfrom investigating.

Another tool law enforcement has traditionally used to preempt terrorists with great effect has been the use informants and sting operations. By luring would-be terrorists into conducting their jihad harmlessly with fake explosives or the like, law enforcement can pounce without waiting for death and mayhem. But as has been repeatedly documentedelsewhere, in the United States at least, that tool is under severe pressure. Sting operations are targeted for elimination by the Muslim Brotherhood, and their various allies through false claims of entrapment. While outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent guideline changes on profiling did not terminate the use of informants, it opened the door for continued efforts by MB groups to pursue their elimination.

The ability to gather intelligence, to surveil and identify potential threats is meaningless if there exists no way to take action before those threats become realized. This in turn plays a part in the public’s increased discomfort with surveillance, which does not seem to be accomplishing the one goal for which it was instituted, protecting the public. Quality intelligence work, and dramatic surveillance capabilities suggest that future Zehaf-Bibeaus, Rouleaus, Hassans, Abebolajos, and Tsarnaevs are unlikely to go “undetected.” However, thanks to the inability to get quality training on ideology, the impermissibility of addressing mosques as targets of investigations, and soon, the inability to utilize informants or sting operations, they are also unlikely to be stopped.

The Iran Lobby: Alive, Well and Changing the Face of the Middle East

799454648CSP, By Clare M. Lopez, Oct. 23, 2014:

“In February 2009, as President Barack Obama and his new administration were settling into office, the Center for Security Policy published a report I wrote entitled “RISE OF THE ‘IRAN LOBBY’ Tehran’s front groups move on—and into— the Obama Administration.” This occasional paper from the Center was offered as a warning about the constellation of forces that was just then moving into power positions from which to influence U.S. foreign policy in ways supportive of the Tehran regime’s objectives. Today, five years later, the disastrous fruits of that network’s efforts are evident across the Middle East in ways both predictable and unforeseen: Iran stands on the brink of deploying deliverable nuclear weapons, Turkey’s leadership sponsors HAMAS terrorism and harbors both neo-Ottoman ambitions and a visceral hatred of the Jewish State of Israel, and an Islamic State proclaiming itself a Caliphate sweeps armies and borders before it, oddly enabled by both Iran and Turkey.”

See version with embedded hyperlinks here

See version with footnotes here

 

Nascent Danger: Islamic State Special Forces

10665871_10152313846292583_1452699765759016712_nInternational Terrorism Study Project, Oct.23, 2014:

The recently released video showcasing the Islamic State’s Special Forces training camp in Syria, is the usual slick production we have come to expect from their media organization Al-Hayat. Beyond the shine and gloss there are some useful observations to make about the appearance of the training, what it reveals about their organizational mindset and, of course, the level of expertise that trainers and trainees possess.  In this review, the ITSP team takes a look at their training successes and shortfalls.

1924530_10152313847402583_1168254241409307840_nThe opening sequence includes the by-now familiar scenes of Abu-Bakr Baghdadi, exhorting the students to do their best. It then segues into footage of soldiers conducting physical training (PT). By any US military unit standard, it is safe to say that the PT being conducted by the trainees is challenging and tough, involving calisthenics, rope courses and team events. PASS.

10689541_10152313847687583_4295688640866512199_nThe next part of the training video is a rather lengthy, choreographed segment focusing on various martial arts exercises. The training displayed is obviously canned and the video assumes a semi-comical effect for several minutes as the students and instructors take turns acting out elaborate fight scenes. FAIL.

1904042_10152313848247583_1200493478396615963_nIt is shortly after the eight-minute mark that the real training footage begins. Footage depicts a squad of, presumably, Special Forces students rehearsing a live-fire maneuver in conjunction with a tank. The soldiers are shown creeping behind the tank, emerging briefly to the side to fire brief bursts of automatic fire (without aiming), before ducking behind the tank once more. This particular segment is somewhat puzzling, as it doesn’t reflect any specific Special Forces mission set, and using Special Forces to fight like Infantry is a negligent waste of assets. FAIL.

Training with the armored vehicle continues, showing a variety of dismounts, deploying into a fighting formation and then, oddly, withdrawal. Various camera angles, as well as cameras mounted on the tank itself, combine for some interesting viewing, mostly trying to figure out exactly it is they are trying to accomplish, or train for. FAIL.

10696183_10152313848302583_5484086322020158230_nNext we see a student detachment begin to conduct a mock raid on a small building housing a BMP armored personnel carrier. Simulating the use of grenades for clearing rooms prior to entry, the team maneuvers through and around the structure, stacking, clearing successive rooms and, finally, driving off in the armored vehicle. This is the first part of the video that actually portrays an actual capability one might expect from a Special Forces detachment: a pinpoint raid, for the purpose of denying the enemy the use of key equipment, armaments, etc. PASS.

The IS Special Forces trainees are shown practicing various methods of urban movement and building climbing. Here it is obvious that the film has been sped up to give an appearance of rapidity but that only results in a mildly keystone cop-like appearance. The close quarters combat sequences show an awkward but functional team, moving down a hallway indoors, clearing successive rooms. It is obvious they have some training but are still below any actual Special Forces standard of performance. PASS.

10613091_10152313848422583_8149446907778757094_nThe closing scene is another inspirational cameo by Baghdadi and is obviously staged, as he can be seen looking at the camera after his closing remarks. He can be heard making the usual fiery remarks about God’s will, achieving martyrdom, etc.

Assessment: This video is, to some degree, revealing. IS commanders seem to have little appreciation for the role of an actual Special Forces team, its doctrine or capabilities. However; they are making the effort to construct an advanced force of elite selectees trained to a higher standard than their average soldier. This could be troublesome in the near future as they begin to employ these units and trainees against select targets.

The training and action depicted in the video resembles more of a commando-type role and mission and the distinction is important. This means the unit will be utilized in more of a Ranger-type role with some Islamist nuances. In other words, IS will employ them against critical, soft targets in the enemy’s rear echelon such as: command & control (C2) nodes, scouting defenses to pinpoint weaknesses for follow-on forces, assassination and attacking key installations, to name a few.

The training camp video demonstrates that IS possesses a cadre of trained professionals they are wisely using as force-multipliers. These cadres likely have some history of training at our military schools and/or deployment to, and with, western militaries. The training depicted closely mimics techniques and methods used by units in the United States and elsewhere. Most significantly, it shows that IS are steadily seeking ways and means to improve and modernize their fighting forces.

As IS continues to evolve into a professional army, the next logical step in the training process would be to establish a training academy for small-unit leaders -something akin to our Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) training centers. We assess that is a logical and likely next step for their commanders as they seek to groom the next generation of IS leadership.

Click on the following link to see the actual video in it’s entirety:

http://t.co/BE9bDSoCIj

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We Need to Call It Terrorism

Sources identify the suspected shooter as 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Sources identify the suspected shooter as 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

PJ Media, By Andrew C. McCarthy, October 22, 2014:

Within three days there have been two jihadist attacks in Canada, carried out by Canadian citizens who recently converted to Islam. No terrorist organization has claimed responsibility, at least as yet. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Stephen Harper showed no reluctance in calling the terrorists … terrorists.

Bravo!

Whether the attackers were incited by the summons to jihad from groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, or were actual members of such groups, there should be no question thatthese were terrorist attacks. The Obama administration’s practice of denying that terrorist attacks are terrorist attacks has been profoundly foolish – and it was good to hear the president seem to inch away from it today.

The point of this cockamamie denial approach is part political correctness and part plain politics.

President Obama has repeatedly claimed to have “decimated” al Qaeda and put it “on the path to defeat.” Actually, the terror network is on the rise. Furthermore, it is now rivaled by ISIS, a jihadist organization that may be even stronger. Denying obvious instances of terrorism, such as the jihadist mass-murder at Fort Hood, is a transparent effort to conceal the obvious falsity of the president’s claims. If these attacks are not really terrorism, the reasoning goes, then there must be less terrorism; therefore, the pretense of defeating terror networks can be spun as validated. As I’ve said before, it is a way of miniaturizing the threat.

It is more than that, though. Terrorism is fueled by an ideology. It is rooted, quite literally, in Islamic scripture. To cite one of many examples, in the Koran’s sura 8:12, Allah instructs Muslims: “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.” Thus, Omar Abdel Rahman, the infamous “Blind Sheikh” I prosecuted for terrorism in the nineties, used to exhort followers:

Why do we fear the word “terrorist”? If the terrorist is the person who defends his right, so we are terrorists. . . . The Koran mentions the words “to strike terror,” therefore we don’t fear to be described with “terrorism.” . . . We are ordered to prepare whatever we can of power to terrorize the enemies of Islam.

The United States government tried to portray Abdel Rahman as deranged and representative of no mainstream current of Islamic thought. In point of fact, he was a doctor of Islamic jurisprudence graduated from al-Azhar University in Cairo, the seat of Sunni learning for over a millennium. His capacity to command terrorists, although he was physically incapable of committing terrorist acts, stemmed from his indisputable mastery of sharia and Islamic doctrine – subjects I daresay he knew a good deal more about than President Obama. He was spokesman for a well-known interpretation of Islam that, as the Iraqi Shiite cleric Ayad Jamal al-Din recently acknowledged, has existed for 1,400 years.

A Muslim who commits an atrocious act with the purpose of becoming Allah’s instrument for “instilling terror into the hearts of the unbelievers” has committed terrorism. A Muslim who employs violence with the intention of “intimidating or coercing a civilian population; influencing the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or affecting the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping,” to borrow from the federal statutory definition of international terrorism, has engaged interrorism. He need neither be wearing an al Qaeda team jersey nor be formally sworn in as a member of ISIS for us to state this palpable fact with confidence.

Shouldn’t we be able to agree on at least that much?

The Secret History of Hezbollah

BY TONY BADRAN:

Thirty years ago last month, Hezbollah blew up the barracks of the U.S Marines and French paratroopers stationed at the Beirut airport, killing 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 Frenchmen. It wasn’t Hezbollah’s first terrorist operation, but this attack, the most memorable in Lebanon’s vicious and chaotic 15-year-long civil war, marked the Party of God’s entry onto the world stage.

HOSSEIN DEHGHAN IN PARLIAMENT, 2013 AP / EBRAHIM NOROOZI

HOSSEIN DEHGHAN IN PARLIAMENT, 2013
AP / EBRAHIM NOROOZI

Three decades later, thanks to the efforts of Israeli Hezbollah expert Shimon Shapira, we now know that one of the men responsible for the attack was an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander named Hossein Dehghan​—​the man Iranian president Hassan Rouhani recently tapped to be his defense minister. In other words, Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran have been joined at the hip from the very beginning, even before the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Of course, that’s not the standard account of Hezbollah, the historical narrative jointly constructed and largely agreed upon by Middle East experts, journalists, some Western and Arab intelligence officials, and even Hezbollah figures themselves. This account holds that Hezbollah was founded in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in 1982 to fight, or “resist,” the Israeli invasion of that year. On this reading, the belief​—​held by the organization’s many critics, targets, and enemies​—​that Hezbollah is little more than an IRGC battalion on the eastern Mediterranean is simply part of a U.S.-Israeli disinformation campaign meant to smear a national resistance movement fighting for the liberation of Lebanese lands. Sure, Hezbollah was founded with some help from Iranian officials, and still receives financial assistance from Tehran, but the organization is strictly a Lebanese affair. It was engendered by Israel’s 1982 invasion and subsequent occupation of Lebanon. The occupation, as one author sympathetic to the group put it, is Hezbollah’s “raison d’être.” 

Even former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak contends that it was the Israeli occupation that gave birth to Hezbollah. “It was our stay [in Lebanon] that established [Hezbollah],” Israel’s most decorated soldier said in 2010. “Hezbollah got stronger not as a result of our exit from Lebanon but as a result of our stay in Lebanon.” Perhaps Barak was simply keen to defend his decision to withdraw Israeli troops from Lebanon in 2000, for his account is simply not true.

The big bang theory of Hezbollah that puts the Israeli occupation at the alpha point is based not in fact but in legend​—​it’s an Israel-centric myth that makes the Jewish state Hezbollah’s motivation and prime mover. In reality, the story of Hezbollah’s origins is a story about Iran, featuring the anti-shah revolutionaries active in Lebanon in the 1970s, years before Israel’s intervention. Thus, to uncover Hezbollah’s roots, it is necessary to mine the accounts of Iranian cadres operating in Lebanon a decade before Israel invaded.

There we find that, contrary to the common wisdom, Hezbollah didn’t arise as a resistance movement to the Israeli occupation. Rather, it was born from the struggle between Iranian revolutionary factions opposed to the shah. Lebanon was a critical front for this rivalry between Hezbollah’s Iranian progenitors and their domestic adversaries. Accordingly, an accurate understanding of this history gives us not only the true story of Hezbollah’s beginnings, but also an insight into the origins of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Those early internal conflicts and impulses, played out in Lebanon as well as Iran, also provide a roadmap for reading the nature of the current regime in Tehran, its motivations and concerns, its strategies and gambits as it moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon and challenging the American order in the Middle East.

Read more at The Weekly Standard

Tony Badran is a columnist for the Beirut-based website NOW Lebanon and a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Muslim Brotherhood Faces Backlash for Allegedly Supporting ISIS

Diariocritico de Venezuela / flickr

Diariocritico de Venezuela / flickr

by TheTower.org Staff:

The Muslim Brotherhood organization is supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to various Egyptian sources. These accusations have gained weight in recent days, after senior officials in the organization condemned a new book called Islamic State…The Knife Slaughtering Islam, which is due to be published in Cairo in the near future. The book deals with the preaching of extremist organizations in favor of terrorist activities. “The Muslim Brotherhood defends ISIS fiercely and attacks its critics,” reported Al-Arab (Arabic link) newspaper.

Egyptian security officials announced (Arabic video link) a few weeks ago that they found documents linking Muslim Brotherhood activists to ISIS. However, the organization denied any connection.

In Jordan too, there are indications of the solidarity the local Muslim Brotherhood branch has for ISIS. Senior official in the Islamic Action Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, called (Arabic link) for support of ISIS and condemned the Western air strikes in Syria and Iraq.

Analysts think this is an indirect call to young Jordanians to join the ranks of the extremist organization. In an interview to Al-Arab (Arabic link), expert in Islamic movements in Jordan Hassan Abu Haniya predicted:

“In the coming days, many activists from several countries, including Jordan, will join the ranks of the Islamic State (ISIS).”

Like ISIS, The Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni organization. The support of the Muslim Brotherhood possibly stems from the Brotherhood’s anger over the focus of the West and the Arab World on ISIS, while Shiite militias in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon continue to act without impunity.

In the West, a Growing List of Attacks Linked to Islamic Extremism

© Christinne Muschi/Reuters An overturned vehicle in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on Oct. 20. A man drove his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one of them.

© Christinne Muschi/Reuters An overturned vehicle in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on Oct. 20. A man drove his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one of them.

By SHREEYA SINHA:

Canadian authorities identified the gunman in the deadly shooting Wednesday of a soldier guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian born in 1982. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau, who had a criminal record, recently converted to Islam, senior American law enforcement officials said. He was shot and killed in the attack.

The episode was the second deadly assault on a uniformed member of Canada’s armed forces in three days, and the latest in a growing list of attacks in the West against soldiers, and in some cases civilians, by individuals who have professed their affinity for radical Islam or sympathy to militant ideology.

Oct. 20, 2014: Hit-and-Run Kills Canadian Soldier

Martin Rouleau-Couture, the owner of a small power-washing business, drove his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one of them, at a strip mall in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. The authorities suggested it was a terrorist attack, but little had emerged about the motives of Mr. Rouleau, who converted to Islam last year.

Mr. Rouleau’s Facebook postings had extolled Islamic State violence, expressed anti-Semitic sentiments and denigrated Christianity. His family became increasingly concerned about his possible radicalization and contacted the police and the imam at the mosque where Mr. Rouleau prayed. He was fatally shot by the police during the attack.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police told NBC News that Mr. Rouleau was “one of the 90 individuals the government had already announced it was monitoring.”

© Brian Chilson/Associated Press Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad killed one soldier and wounded another outside a Little Rock, Ark., military recruiting station in 2009.

© Brian Chilson/Associated Press Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad killed one soldier and wounded another outside a Little Rock, Ark., military recruiting station in 2009.

Sept. 25, 2014: Woman Is Beheaded in Oklahoma

A man beheaded a co-worker and stabbed another employee at a food processing plant in Oklahoma before he was shot and wounded by a company executive. The suspect was identified as Alton Nolen. Mr. Nolen, who has a criminal history, had just been fired from the company, Vaughan Foods, and “he recently started trying to convert some of his co-workers to the Muslim religion,” said Jeremy Lewis, a spokesman for the police in Moore, Okla.

Law enforcement officials said that Mr. Nolen had recently converted to Islam, but that the F.B.I. had found no connection between him and the Islamic State or other terrorist groups.

Sept. 26, 2014: ISIS Lieutenant Tries to Coordinate Attacks in Australia

Mohammad Ali Baryalei, a former Sydney nightclub bouncer who is now an Islamic State lieutenant, made a phone call from Syria to a 22-year-old Sydney man and asked him to carry out a beheading in Australia on camera, the police said.

It is one of the few known attempts by the Islamic State to carry out a terrorist act outside the Middle East.

Days after the Sydney man was arrested, an 18-year-old man stabbed two counterterrorism officers outside Melbourne before one of the officers shot and killed him. The police described the man as a “known terror suspect” who had been seen carrying an Islamic State flag at a local shopping center.

Read more at MSN